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According to Washington’s Government Land Office Survey of 1860, Smith Island was once very productive estuary for juvenile salmon. However, the land was later converted for farm use. Over the past several decades, the viability of the agricultural land diminished due to several factors, including ground subsidence and deterioration of drainage infrastructure. There have also been several incidences of erosion along the existing levee which have required continued maintenance. These factors aided in the Smith Island site selection.